Menu toggle icon.
Menu toggle icon.

Barbet Dog Breed

About the Barbet

The Barbet (pronounced bar-bay) is an ancient breed known for its curly coat and affable disposition. Hailing from France, this water dog is easily recognized by its distinctive beard (barbe in French), from which the breed derives its name. While not as widely known in the United States as some other breeds, the Barbet has a storied history. It has served for centuries as a loyal companion to hunters, assisting in retrieving waterfowl before the invention of the firing arm. The breed’s gentle and playful nature, combined with its intelligence and adaptability, make the Barbet a delightful family companion and an engaging partner in various canine activities.

AKC Group

AKC Group


Dog Breed Height


19 – 24.5 Inches

Dog Breed Weight


35 – 65 Pounds

Dog Breed Lifespan


12 – 14 Years


Country of Origin France
Bred For Flushing & Retrieving Waterfowl, Companionship
Known For Rustic Appearance, Profuse Coat, Cheerfulness, Intelligence
Popularity Low
Temperament Friendly, Bright, Sweet-Natured
Activities Hunting, Running, Swimming, Conformation Shows, Dog Sports

History of the Barbet

The Barbet’s history is as rich and distinctive as is the breed’s curly coat. This water dog’s roots can be traced back to ancient times, with depictions of similar canines appearing in artwork from the 14th century. However, the Barbet, as we know it today, has its origins firmly fixed in present-day France.

Initially, the Barbet was a utilitarian dog, prized for its prowess as a waterfowl retriever. French hunters relied on the rough water dog to fetch birds from marshes, swamps, and other wet environments. Its water-resistant, curly coat, combined with its webbed feet, made the Barbet particularly adept for such tasks.

The name Barbet is believed to be derived from the French term barbe, meaning “beard,” a nod to the breed’s characteristic beard-like facial hair. The breed has also played a pivotal role in the development of several other breeds. The Poodle, in particular, owes a significant degree of its lineage to the Barbet.

However, despite its historical significance and early development, the Barbet has faced the threat of extinction, particularly during the World Wars. Dedicated breed enthusiasts, recognizing the value and heritage of the breed, undertook efforts to revive and conserve it.

The modern Barbet remains true to its historical roots, with many of its inherent characteristics, such as its love for water and its affable nature, remaining unchanged. The breed has garnered recognition from various kennel organizations and registries around the world, with the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Barbet in 2020.

From its beginnings as a trusted hunting companion to its present role as a beloved family companion, the Barbet has stood the test of time, showcasing its resilience, adaptability, and unwavering charm.

General Appearance

Height & Weight

Adult Barbets typically stand between 19 and 24.5 inches tall at the withers.

In terms of weight, mature Barbets generally range from 35 to 65 pounds, in proportion to the individual dog’s height.

Proportion & Substance

The Barbet’s physique exudes both strength and elegance. With a harmonious balance between its height and length, the breed possesses an appearance that is slightly rectangular, This proportion, together with a substantial head and sweeping tail, is fundamental to the breed’s usefulness and contributes to its graceful movement, whether retrieving fallen game or playfully bounding through the family yard.

In terms of substance, the Barbet boasts a robust frame, without any hint of clumsiness. The breed’s solid bone and well-muscled body emphasize its historical roles as a strong and persistent water dog.

Coat Texture, Colors & Markings

Texture: The Barbet’s coat is a defining characteristic of the breed that is renowned for its curly and dense texture. The profuse coat sports a distinctive beard and is a reminder of the breed’s history as an adept waterfowl retriever. The unique texture provides protection from the elements and underscores the breed’s innate ability to perform well in aquatic environments.

Barbet Colors

Standard Color
Black ee
Brown ee
Fawn ee
Fawn ee
Gray ee
White ee

Barbet Markings

Standard Marking
White Markings ee
Gray Markings ee
Black Markings ee
Brown Markings ee
Fawn Markings ee

A Note About Color: The Barbet may be found in all shades of black, gray, brown, and fawn; with or without white markings. White dogs with colored markings, called pied, are as equally acceptable as the solid-colored dogs.


The Barbet’s head is a defining feature of the breed, characterized by its strong, rounded skull and expressive face.

  • Skull: The skull is broad and slightly convex, giving the head a well-defined and sturdy appearance. The stop is moderate, providing a smooth transition from the skull to the muzzle.
  • Expression: One of the Barbet’s most endearing qualities is its warm and inviting expression, exuding both intelligence and kindness. This is further accentuated by the tufts of hair that usually fall over the eyes.
  • Eyes: Set rather well apart, the Barbet’s eyes are round and dark, harmoniously blending with the coat’s color. They radiate a lively and attentive look.
  • Ears: The ears are set at eye level and hang flat, framing the face. Their length reaches halfway down the muzzle, and they’re covered with long, dense hair, often with a wavy appearance.
  • Muzzle: The muzzle of the Barbet is strong and broad; square but tapering slightly towards the nose. It is of equal length to the skull, providing a balanced appearance to the head. The planes of the head and muzzle are nearly parallel.
  • Nose: The breed’s nose is broad, with well-open nostrils. Its color complements that of the coat, usually being black or brown, depending on the dog’s primary coat color and shade.
  • Bite: The Barbet boasts teeth that are large and strong teeth, meeting in a scissors bite where the upper incisors closely overlap the lower incisors. This bite ensures a strong grip, vital for the breed’s role as a waterfowl retriever.

A photo of Barbet's head.


The Barbet’s signature tail is an extension of both its topline and its character, serving both a functional and an expressive role. Strong at its base, the tail tapers gradually towards the tip. At rest, the tail hangs down, reaching the hocks or slightly below. During moments of alertness or excitement, the Barbet can carry its tail slightly raised, but it rarely curls it over the back.

The Barbet’s tail remains undocked, showcasing its natural length and its somewhat movement. The tail emphasizes the breed’s water dog lineage, as it acts as a rudder in fast-running streams and still bodies of water.

The Barbet – What to Consider?

Welcoming a Barbet into the home is a delightful experience, yet it is one that requires commitment and understanding. As a breed renowned for its amiable nature and storied past as a retriever, the Barbet flourishes when provided with both physical excursions and emotional connections. Whether interest in the breed stems from a desire for a loyal companion, a working partner, or an affable show dog, comprehending its many distinct characteristics all but guarantees a mutually fulfilling bond.

Family Life

Affectionate With Family

How affectionate a breed is likely to be with family members, or other people he knows well. Some breeds can be aloof with everyone but their owner, while other breeds treat everyone they know like their best friend.
Independent Lovey-Dovey

Good With Other Dogs

How generally friendly a breed is towards other dogs. Dogs should always be supervised for interactions and introductions with other dogs, but some breeds are innately more likely to get along with other dogs, both at home and in public.
Not Recommended Good With Other Dogs

Good With Young Children

A breed’s level of tolerance and patience with childrens’ behavior, and overall family-friendly nature. Dogs should always be supervised around young children, or children of any age who have little exposure to dogs.
Not Recommended Good With Children


Shedding Level

How much fur and hair you can expect the breed to leave behind. Breeds with high shedding will need to be brushed more frequently, are more likely to trigger certain types of allergies, and are more likely to require more consistent vacuuming and lint-rolling.
No Shedding Hair Everywhere

Coat Grooming Frequency

How frequently a breed requires bathing, brushing, trimming, or other kinds of coat maintenance. Consider how much time, patience, and budget you have for this type of care when looking at the grooming effort needed. All breeds require regular nail trimming.
Monthly Daily

Drooling Level

How drool-prone a breed tends to be. If you’re a neat freak, dogs that can leave ropes of slobber on your arm or big wet spots on your clothes may not be the right choice for you.
Less Likely to Drool Always Have a Towel

Coat Type


Coat Length


Social Attributes


Trainability Level

How easy it will be to train your dog, and how willing your dog will be to learn new things. Some breeds just want to make their owner proud, while others prefer to do what they want, when they want to, wherever they want!.
Self-Willed Eager to Please

Barking Level

How often this breed vocalizes, whether its with barks or howls. While some breeds will bark at every passer-by or bird in the window, others will only bark in particular situations. Some barkless breeds can still be vocal, using other sounds to express themselves.
Only To Alert Very Vocal

Energy Level

The amount of exercise and mental stimulation a breed needs. High energy breeds are ready to go and eager for their next adventure. They will spend their time running, jumping, and playing throughout the day. Low energy breeds are like couch potatoes – they are happy to simply lay around and snooze.
Couch Potato High Energy

Mental Stimulation Needs

How much mental stimulation a breed needs to stay happy and healthy. Purpose-bred dogs can have jobs that require decision-making, problem-solving, concentration, or other qualities, and without the brain exercise they need, they will create their own projects to keep their minds busy — and they probably wont be the kind of projects you would like..
Happy to Lounge Needs a Job or Activity

Barbet Health

The Barbet, like all breeds of dog, has specific health requirements and potential challenges. Generally, this breed is robust and resilient, benefiting greatly from its need for an active lifestyle. Additionally, a balanced diet and regular veterinary check-ups will play a pivotal role in ensuring a Barbet’s longevity and vitality.

Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Barbet ranges between 12 and 14 years. With optimal care, some individuals can even surpass this age range.

Potential Health Risks

While the Barbet is generally considered a healthy breed, like any breed or mixed breed, it can be susceptible to certain health conditions. Awareness of these potential issues is key to proactive care and early detection.

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common condition in many breeds, where the hip joint doesn’t develop correctly. Regular check-ups can detect early signs, and weight management can assist with prevention.
  • Ear Infections: Given the breed’s hanging ears clothed in dense hair, Barbets can be prone to ear infections. Regular cleaning and monitoring for signs of discomfort can mitigate this risk.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia but affecting the front legs, this disease is a developmental anomaly of the elbow joint, typically leading to arthritis and pain.
  • Epilepsy: Some Barbets may be prone to seizures; however, with proper medication and care, dogs with epilepsy can live normal lives.
  • Hypothyroidism: This disorder of the thyroid gland can lead to obesity, lethargy, and skin conditions. It’s treatable with medication.
  • Heart Conditions: Like many breeds, the Barbet can be susceptible to certain heart conditions. Regular check-ups and listening for irregular heart rhythms or murmurs is advised.
  • Eyesight Issues: Conditions like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) can affect the breed. Regular eye check-ups are recommended.
  • Allergies: Some Barbets can develop skin allergies. It’s essential, therefore, to monitor signs of excessive itching or skin irritations.

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for early detection of these and other potential health issues. Veterinarians familiar with the breed can provide guidance tailored to its specific needs, ensuring that a Barbet remains healthy and active throughout its life.

Barbet Personality

The Barbet, with its spirited and endearing nature, exudes warmth, intelligence, and enthusiasm. Rooted deeply in its history as a diligent water dog, this breed strikes a delightful balance between a robust work ethic and a sociable demeanor. Often regarded as a fitting choice for novice dog owners, the Barbet’s eager-to-please attitude can make training a pleasure. The breed’s sensitive disposition means it responds most positively to gentle training methods anchored in encouragement and praise.

Strong bonds are a hallmark of the Barbet, and they tend to mirror the emotions of their families, revealing an innate sensitivity. While Barbets will demonstrate adaptability across various situations, they are inherently social creatures. Prolonged isolation doesn’t sit well with a Barbet, and it can sometimes lead to feelings of separation anxiety. When it comes to interactions with other dogs, Barbets generally showcase a friendly and playful approach, especially if they’ve been acquainted from a young age.

Children often find a gentle and patient friend in the Barbet, making the breed commendable companions for families. The Barbet’s affability isn’t typically limited to familiar faces; with the right socialization, they can extend their warm demeanor to strangers, though their inherent loyalty may lead them to approach unfamiliar situations and new people with appropriate caution.

Barbet Feeding & Nutrition

Feeding a Barbet requires understanding and catering to each dog’s specific nutritional needs. As a breed with a rich heritage of being active water dogs, they require a balanced diet to fuel their energetic lifestyle.

When considering what to feed a Barbet puppy, it’s vital to ensure that the chosen food supports the breed’s growth phase. Opt for high-quality puppy formulations that are rich in essential nutrients, proteins, and fats. This aids in building strong muscles and supporting overall healthy development.

Transitioning to adult food usually takes place between 12 to 15 months. Adult Barbets, depending on their activity levels, may require food that provides ample energy without leading to unnecessary weight gain. It’s essential to select a brand and formula that offers a well-rounded nutrient profile with an emphasis on lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.

The amount of food a Barbet requires can vary based on factors such as age, metabolism, and activity level. On average, a Barbet might consume between 2 to 3 cups of quality dry food daily, divided into two meals. However, it’s always a good idea to consult the feeding guidelines on the food packaging and to stay in regular communication with your veterinarian to adjust portions as needed.

Barbets, like all breeds, can be susceptible to obesity if overfed. Monitoring their weight and ensuring they get adequate exercise can help in maintaining a healthy weight. Treats, while delightful for training and bonding, should be given in moderation to avoid excessive calorie intake.

Barbet Training

Training a Barbet can be a fulfilling experience, given the breed’s innate intelligence and desire to please. Originating as water dogs, Barbets possess a natural work ethic, which often translates into a keenness to learn and adapt.

While they’re relatively accommodating for novice dog owners, Barbets thrive best under positive reinforcement techniques. Their sensitive nature responds well to praise, treats, and affection, making them more receptive to learning commands and tricks. This breed is not one to react positively to harsh or punitive training methods.

One of the notable traits of the Barbet is its vocal nature. While not incessantly barky, the breed can express itself quite vocally, especially when a Barbet spots something unusual or wants to alert its owner. Training, with commands to curb unnecessary barking, can be beneficial in this regard.

In terms of intelligence, Barbets rank high. They’re quick learners, able to pick up new commands and tricks with relative ease. However, this intelligence means they can sometimes be a tad stubborn or independent-minded, so consistency in training sessions is key.

The Barbet’s history as a water retriever also comes with a certain level of wanderlust. Ensuring a secure play area and incorporating recall training can help manage this trait. The breed’s innate retrieving instincts might sometimes translate into a mild predation drive, especially towards smaller moving objects. Early socialization and training can help with channeling this drive productively.

Barbet Exercise

The Barbet’s origins as an active water dog have endowed it with a natural zest for physical activity. Ensuring that a Barbet receives adequate exercise is paramount to its well-being, both mentally and physically.

Exercise Expectations

Energy Level Moderate to High
Exercise Requirements 2 Hours/Day (Minimum), Daily Walks, Weekly Swimming, Regular Exercise, Playing with Another Dog, Mental Stimulation

Endowed with a moderate to high energy level, the Barbet thrives on daily exercise routines. Activities such as brisk walks, games of fetch, and even swimming can be greatly beneficial. While often happy to participate in more relaxed activities, it’s essential to incorporate some rigorous exercise to help the Barbet expend all of its innate energy.

The breed’s intensity, while not overwhelming, can sometimes surprise new owners. It’s not unusual for a Barbet to enjoy prolonged play sessions, interspersed with short bursts of high energy. Regular playtimes and interaction with human companions can also satisfy the need for mental stimulation, given the Barbet’s intelligent nature.

Playfulness is a defining trait of the Barbet. Whether it’s chasing after a ball, engaging in interactive dog toys, or simply romping around in the yard, this breed adores play sessions. Play is an excellent way for a dog to bond with its family while staying fit.

Barbet Grooming

The Barbet boasts a distinct curly coat that is both dense and waterproof, a testament to their water dog heritage. Grooming a Barbet is essential, not only for aesthetics but also for a dog’s health and comfort.

Grooming Expectations

Coat Type Black, Brown, Gray and White
Grooming Requirements Weekly Brushing, Occasional Bathing, Routine Ear Cleaning, Periodic Nail Trimming, Regular Tooth Brushing

The texture of the Barbet’s coat can vary, with some having looser curls and others possessing tighter ringlets. Regular brushing, at least a few times a week, helps with preventing mats and tangles, and ensures the coat remains in optimal condition. Using a pin brush or a slicker brush, combined with a metal comb for the finer areas, can yield the best results.

While the Barbet’s coat doesn’t shed profusely, it does undergo minimal shedding, which might go unnoticed due to the curls. This characteristic makes them a favorable option for individuals with mild pet allergies, although no breed is entirely hypoallergenic.

Bathing a Barbet is not a frequent necessity, given the breed’s water-resistant coat. However, when they do get muddy or particularly dirty, a thorough bath with a gentle dog shampoo will do the trick. It’s crucial to be sure the dog is dried properly post-bath, especially in the areas where the coat is densest, to prevent any moisture-related skin issues.

Additionally, like all breeds, Barbets benefit from regular dental care. Brushing their teeth several times a week can prevent tartar build-up and promote overall oral health. Regular nail trimming and ear checks are also recommended to keep them in tip-top shape.

Living with a Barbet

The Barbet, with its amiable nature and keen intelligence, offers a unique living experience to its owners. Known for its sociable and adaptable disposition, the Barbet makes for a delightful household companion.

For those residing in apartments, the Barbet can adjust reasonably well, provided the dog receives its requisite exercise and mental stimulation. The breed’s moderate size and generally calm indoor demeanor makes it suited for apartment living, though the Barbet certainly relishes having access to a yard or open space where it can freely roam and play.

When it comes to weather preferences, the Barbet’s dense, curly coat serves as an effective shield against cold conditions. The breed’s history as a water dog means it is quite fond of damp environments and may even enjoy romping in the snow. However, like all dogs, prolonged exposure to extreme cold should be avoided. On the flip side, during particularly hot weather, it’s essential to ensure the Barbet has access to plenty of shade and fresh water. The thick coat can make it more susceptible to overheating, so caution during peak summer temperatures is advised.

The Barbet’s social nature means it cherishes the company of all human family members. Barbets thrive best in environments where they are integrated into daily family activities, be it lounging on the couch, playing in the yard, or even accompanying family members on local trips and extended excursions.

Barbet Puppies

The sight of a Barbet puppy, with its soft curls and curious eyes, is undeniably heartwarming. As with all puppies, the early stages of a Barbet’s life are crucial in shaping behavior, health, and overall well-being. While they are a bundle of joy, bringing a Barbet puppy into one’s life also comes with its own set of responsibilities.

Caring for a Barbet Puppy

Welcoming a Barbet puppy into your home is an enchanting experience, wrapped up in soft curls, playful antics, and boundless energy. During the first few months, proper care is essential to ensure that a Barbet puppy matures into a healthy and well-mannered adult.

A Barbet pup’s nutrition is of paramount importance. Feeding a balanced diet, specifically designed for the breed’s growth phase, lays the groundwork for robust health. It’s always wise to collaborate with a veterinarian to pinpoint the optimal diet and establish a consistent feeding rhythm.

As your Barbet puppy starts exploring its new world, early socialization becomes a cornerstone of its development. By exposing a pup to various environments, people, pets, and sounds, you’re shaping a well-rounded adult dog. Regular outings, whether it’s playdates with other puppies or just casual strolls around the neighborhood, are beneficial. Puppy training classes can also be a great way to introduce a Barbet to different situations while instilling basic obedience.

Speaking of training, Barbets are typically enthusiastic learners. Even in their early months, introducing basic commands like sit and stay, through positive reinforcement, can yield great results. The breed’s innate desire to please, paired with consistent training, can lead to a harmonious household.

In terms of health, regular vet visits are non-negotiable. This ensures a puppy is up-to-date with vaccinations, and any potential health concerns are addressed promptly. Monitoring each pup’s behavior and physical condition closely can provide early indicators if something isn’t quite right.

Physical activity plays a pivotal role in a Barbet puppy’s life. Play sessions, filled with toys and gentle games, allow a pup to expend its energy. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance; while Barbet puppies love to play, overexertion can strain their developing bones and joints.

Grooming is another facet of Barbet puppy care. By introducing grooming routines early, such as brushing and nail trimming, the puppy becomes comfortably acclimated to these processes. This not only guarantees the Barbet looks its best but also ensures grooming sessions in later life are stress-free.

In the journey of raising a Barbet puppy, a blend of affection, diligence, and guidance leads the way. The early days are foundational, and with dedicated care, your Barbet will flourish, becoming an integral part of your family.

Barbet Activities & Dog Sports

The Barbet is a versatile breed known for its intelligence, agility, and adaptability. Over the years, the Barbet has participated in various activities and dog sports, underscoring its multifaceted capabilities.

  • Hunting & Water Retrieval: Tracing back to its historical roots, the Barbet was revered for retrieving game from water. Even today, many enthusiasts train their Barbets for water retrieval activities. Their dense coat and webbed feet ensure they excel in aquatic settings, while their keen sense of smell and natural retrieving instincts bolster their efficiency.
  • Agility: Agility competitions challenge dogs to traverse a timed obstacle course. The Barbet’s nimbleness, paired with its fervor and trainability, allows the breed to stand out in such events.
  • Obedience Trials: With a genuine desire to please and notable intelligence, Barbets shine in Obedience Trials. These challenges gauge a dog’s capacity to heed a range of commands and actions, spotlighting both the dog’s training and the handler’s expertise.
  • Dock Diving: As an aquatic sport, Dock Diving prompts dogs to leap from a dock into water, aiming for either distance or height. Given the Barbet’s affinity for water and its robust physique, this activity is right up their alley.
  • Search and Rescue (SAR): With a stellar sense of smell and adept tracking capabilities, Barbets have proven useful in SAR missions. Their innate traits make them invaluable, particularly during calamities or when pinpointing the location of missing persons.
  • Therapy & Service Roles: The Barbet’s serene demeanor and intuitive nature designate it as an exemplary Therapy Dog. They are commonly found extending emotional solace in medical facilities, educational institutions, and eldercare homes. Moreover, their cognitive prowess and trainability potentially make them apt Service Dogs for individuals with diverse needs.

The Barbet’s breadth of capabilities is self-evident, making it suitable for an expansive array of activities. Engaging a Barbet in such endeavors not only accentuates its myriad talents but also addresses the mental and physical needs intrinsic to the breed.

Group Classification & Standards

The Barbet is recognized by the world’s leading registries and kennel organizations, which categorize the breed into a specific Group based on its unique characteristics. This breed is recognized worldwide under the following Group designations.

International Organizations

Organization Group Classification
AKC (American Kennel Club) Sporting
UKC (United Kennel Club) Gun Dog
CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) Sporting Dogs
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) Not Recognized
RKC (The Royal Kennel Club) Gundog
FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) Group 8 – Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, Water Dogs; Section 3 – Water Dogs

The ideal Barbet is described by a Breed Standard that is approved by each of the world’s leading registries and kennel organizations. The Breed Standards for this breed may be found in the following links.

Breed Standards

Organization Breed Standard
American Kennel Club AKC Barbet Breed Standard
United Kennel Club UKC Barbet Breed Standard
Canadian Kennel Club CKC Barbet Breed Standard
Australian National Kennel Council Not Recognized
The Royal Kennel Club RKC Barbet Breed Standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale FCI Barbet Breed Standard

Barbet Breed Clubs

Breed clubs play an essential role in preserving, promoting, and ensuring the welfare of specific dog breeds. For the Barbet, these clubs offer a platform for enthusiasts, breeders, and owners to share insights, participate in events, and work towards the betterment of the breed.

In the United States, the Barbet Club of America stands as the primary organization devoted to the Barbet. Established to foster and promote the interest of Barbets in the country, this club conducts various events, provides breed-specific resources, and collaborates closely with the American Kennel Club.

In Canada, the Barbet Club of Canada stands as a vital organization dedicated to the breed. This club emphasizes educating the public about Barbets, upholding ethical breeding practices, and hosting events that showcase the breed’s unique traits and abilities.

In the United Kingdom, the Barbet Club UK is the primary hub for Barbet enthusiasts. Although a relatively newer establishment, this club has significantly contributed to increasing breed awareness, coordinating breed-specific events, and building a community for Barbet lovers.

Joining a breed club offers many benefits, from gaining in-depth knowledge about the Barbet to networking with like-minded individuals. Moreover, these clubs play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the breed, ensuring its continued success and recognition in the dog world and beyond.

Barbet Rescue Groups

Barbets regrettably sometimes find themselves in need of rescue or rehoming due to various circumstances. Rescue groups play a vital role in providing second chances to Barbets that have been displaced, abandoned, or surrendered. Their commitment goes beyond rehoming; these organizations also focus on rehabilitation, medical care, and they work tirelessly to help each Barbet in need find a loving and appropriate home.

In the US, various regional breed-specific rescue organizations and networks assist Barbets in need. These groups, run by volunteers, not only facilitate adoptions but also provide resources on the breed and assist families adjusting to life with a Barbet.

In Canada, rescue groups work tirelessly to ensure Barbets in distress are taken care of and provided with new, loving homes. They also run awareness campaigns to educate potential dog owners about the breed’s specific needs.

The United Kingdom too boasts a number of organizations focused on the welfare of Barbets. These groups aim to connect Barbets with suitable families and also serve as a platform for breed enthusiasts to share resources, experiences, and advice.

Barbet Facts

  • Historical Roots: The Barbet is believed to have its origins in ancient times, with some claiming the breed can trace its lineage back to North African or Middle Eastern water dogs. Its name is derived from the French word barbe, meaning “beard,” referencing the distinctive beard on the breed’s muzzle and lower jaw.
  • A Linguistic Legacy: The term “barbichon,” which includes breeds like the Bichon Frise, has its roots in the Barbet’s name, indicating the breed’s foundational role in the development of other breeds.
  • Versatility in the Field: Historically, the Barbet was known for its skills as a waterfowl retriever. Its dense, curly coat was perfectly suited to work in the water, providing insulation and protection.
  • Rare But Reviving: At one point in history, especially post World War II, the Barbet’s numbers dwindled to a dangerous low. However, dedicated breeders and enthusiasts have worked hard to revive the breed.
  • A Calming Companion: The Barbet’s gentle and affable demeanor has made it not just a preferred companion in homes but also a candidate for therapy roles in hospitals and care centers.
  • A Natural Swimmer: Given its historical role as a waterfowl retriever, the Barbet is a natural swimmer. It’s not just the coat that aids in this but also the breed’s webbed toes, which act like flippers in the water.
  • Low Shedding: While no breed is entirely hypoallergenic, the Barbet’s unique coat structure means it sheds less than many other breeds, making it a consideration for those with mild allergies.
  • Global Recognition: Though originating in France, the Barbet’s appeal is global. The breed is recognized by major kennel clubs in various countries, a testament to its enduring charm.
  • A Slow Grower: Unlike some breeds that reach maturity in just a year, the Barbet takes its time. It may take anywhere from 2 to 3 years for a Barbet to fully mature, both in size and temperament.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Barbets hypoallergenic?

While no breed of dog is completely hypoallergenic, the Barbet is often recommended for people with mild allergies due to its unique coat structure. Its curly, dense coat can trap dander, which is a common allergen. However, it’s essential for potential owners with allergies to spend time with the breed beforehand to ensure they don’t exhibit allergic reactions.

Do Barbets shed?

Barbets possess a curly coat that sheds minimally in comparison to other breeds. However, it’s worth noting that all dogs (except hairless breeds) will shed to some extent, and the Barbet is no exception. Regular grooming, including brushing and occasional scissoring for neatness, can help to manage and minimize the amount of loose hair and prevent matting.

Are Barbets good family dogs?

Barbets are known for their gentle and friendly temperament, making them excellent companions for families. They bond closely with family members and often exhibit a playful nature, especially with children. With proper socialization, they also tend to get along well with other animals in the household.

Can Barbets be white?

Barbets can sport a variety of coat colors, with or without white. However, it’s worth mentioning that the presence of other colors or markings can create a variety of parti-color patterns. Always refer to the Breed Standards or consult with reputable breeders for specifics on coat colors and their inheritance.

How much do Barbets weigh?

Barbets typically fall within the weight range of 35 to 65 pounds, depending on factors such as gender, diet, and overall health. Males are generally on the heavier end of the spectrum compared to females. Proper nutrition and regular check-ups can ensure a Barbet maintains a healthy weight.

Can a Barbet be left home alone all day?

Barbets, being sociable and affectionate dogs, thrive best when they have regular interaction with their owners. While they exhibit adaptability, leaving Barbets alone for prolonged periods can lead to feelings of loneliness or even result in behavioral issues. If one has to leave a Barbet alone, it’s crucial to be certain they have toys, ample water, and a comfortable area to rest.

Are Barbets high or low maintenance?

Grooming-wise, Barbets lean towards being medium to high maintenance due to their curly coat, which demands consistent care to prevent tangles and mats. Beyond grooming, their affectionate and placid temperament often makes this breed relatively low-maintenance from a behavioral perspective. Regular exercise and mental stimulation, however, are vital for any Barbet’s well-being.

Do Barbets bark a lot?

Generally, Barbets aren’t known to be incessant barkers. They might bark to alert their owners to unfamiliar sounds or intruders, however, exhibiting a protective instinct. With consistent training and early socialization, any tendency to bark excessively can be managed effectively.

Are Barbets aggressive?

Barbets are generally not aggressive at all. In fact, they are known for their friendly and sociable nature, often getting along well with both people and other animals. However, as with any dog, early socialization and proper training are essential to ensure a well-behaved and well-adjusted canine companion.


Dan Sayers

Dan Sayers

Dan Sayers is the Editor-in-Chief of SHOWSIGHT digital and print publications. He received a B.S. from Drexel University where he studied interior architectural design. His professional career has allowed him to develop his planning, problem-solving, and project management skills, which were employed in the office, educational, and financial sectors. While working as a project manager, he earned a Graphic Design Certificate from the University of the Arts and began creating ads for many of America’s top-winning show dogs. Through this work, Dan became Editor-in-Chief of the nation’s first online-only dog show publication. His current role expands on this experience and broadly extends to cover the sport of dogs in Companion and Performance events as well as all aspects of Conformation.

Dan is a long-time member of the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America and is the organization’s current AKC Delegate and Archivist/Historian, as well as a club-approved Breed Mentor. From 2000-2010, he was the club’s AKC Gazette Columnist. He breeds Irish Water Spaniels under the Quiet Storm prefix and has judged the IWSCA National Specialty Sweepstakes twice. Dan is a member of the Morris and Essex Kennel Club as well as the Dog Writers Association of America, which recognized his illustrations in the award-winning canine compendium, the Encyclopedia of K-9 Terminology.

Find a Breeder or Rescue

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin?

Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral Program, which is listed on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.

Find a Barbet Puppy
Find a Breeder or Rescue